Rutledge’s Christian helps with disaster relief

Published 3:07 pm Monday, May 30, 2011

Rutledge’s Fran Christian helped with disaster relief in Haiti last year, and she got another opportunity to help a little closer to home following April’s tornado outbreak.

Christian, who serves as a chaplain with the Alabama Baptist State Convention’s disaster relief teams, had been working in Eclectic at a relief distribution center, but on May 6, she received a call to go to Rainsville, which is located northwest of Fort Payne in DeKalb County.

“I got a phone call from the state board that they needed me to go to Rainsville, so I went,” she said.
Christian joined up with a disaster relief group composed of members from Elmore, Autauga and Montgomery counties, and they made their way to Rainsville.

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“I was assigned to a feeding unit,” she said. “We worked alongside the Red Cross. They provided the food, and we prepared it.”

The unit Christian was with prepared and served 2,500 – 3,000 meals per day.

Through the use of insulated Cambro storage containers, the meals were served hot.

“They were some long days, but it was such a blessing,” Christian said. “The people were so appreciative.”

Besides helping out with serving the food, Christian said she was also called upon to perform the chaplain’s duties.

“As a chaplain, I help with the unit I’m assigned to, but I also got pulled out a couple of times and went to a private place to talk to people,” she said.

Christian said that the Alabama Baptist State Convention has a number of different disaster relief units, including the largest feeding unit in the state, but the ABSA also has shower units, laundry units, chainsaw crews and others available.

“There was a group of men who had been working as a chainsaw team in Birmingham for a week, and they went straight to Rainsville and worked with us,” she said. “The State Convention has a world of different units, and when it put it all together, that’s what really helps.”

In addition to serving meals, the feeding team also handed out special literature for children.

“Those handouts talked about disasters and how God looks out for you no matter what,” Christian said.

One thing the trip highlighted for Christian was the need for more volunteers from Crenshaw and the surrounding counties.

“We need disaster relief volunteers,” she said. “North Alabama had more volunteers than central and south Alabama.”

Christian said that if Crenshaw County was able to form a volunteer team, it wouldn’t have to join with teams from other counties.

She also added that she knows the work isn’t over yet.

“I’m going to be called up again,” she said. “I don’t know when or where, but they told me it’s going to happen.”

“It’s just such a blessing to see hurting people helped by a hot meal and water, and you feel like God has used you to help people in need,” Christian said.